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Us 11, Iraq 7, Washington 6, Lyrica 5, Obama 4, Boehner 4, Huffington 4, America 4, Paul Ryan 3, Larry 3, John Boehner 3, Max 3, Harold 3, Clinton 3, James Carville 3, Harold Ford 3, U.s. 3, David Wood 2, Ryan 2, Walter Reed 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    March 19, 2013
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

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wireless is limitless. house republicans have a budget, house democrats have a budget. senate democrats have a budget and in a few weeks, the white house will have a budget, but is anybody any closer to agreeing on an actual budget? it's tuesday, march 19th and this is "now." joining me today, jacob wiseberg is the chairman of the slate group. managing editor of the grio.com and msnbc contributor, joy reed is here. visiting professor at nyu and msnbc political analyst, former democratic congressman harold ford junior and editorial director of the huffington post media group msnbc analyst,
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howard fineman making his debut today. >> i'm honored. >> grand bargaining is the name of the game in washington as president obama and republicans seek an illusive middle ground on spending and taxes. so far, the game is not going very well. >> is the grand bargain dead? >> i don't know whether we can come to a big agreement. the president believes that we have to have more taxes from the american people. we're not going to get very far. >> the president has sounded equally pessimistic about bridging the divide. >> it may be that the differences are just too wide. if their position is we can't do any revenue, or we can only do revenue if we gut medicare or gut social security or gut medicaid, if that's the position, then we're probably not going to be able to get a deal. >> while there's not much agreement there are plenty of ideas. washington is awash in budgets. no less than six plans are currently circulating on the
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hill. there is the plan from senate democrats, or the murray plan. it includes a one-to-one ratio of spending cuts and tax increaseses, as well as short-term stimulus. then there's the house democrats' budget, which pushes for $200 billion more in revenue than the plan proposed by their party members in the upper chamber and there is a congressional progressives back-to-work budget, which proposes creating seven million new jobs by passing a $2.1 trillion stimulus package paid by increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations, totaling $4.2 trillion. on the other side of the aisle, there's the republican steady committee budget, which aims to balance the budget in four years, so far the most talked-about budget, the chef's special, on this seemingly endless fiscal menu, is the house republican budget, aka the ryan plan. ryan's budget, dusted off from the 2012 campaign, has $4.6 trillion in spending cuts with
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no new taxes. it lowers the top marginal tax ralt to 25% and offsets the costs by closing loopholes that mr. ryan will make at a later date. earlier this morning the republicans touted the benefits of this plan. >> the reason we're balancing our budget is it is a necessary means to an end which improves people's lives. >> which budget helps those in need? our budget provide as prescription to save the social safety nets. >> so which future do you pick? growth or more tax and spend? >> despite this confidence in their plan, the reality is that the ryan plan will likely pass the house tomorrow and then die a lonely death in the upper, lower chamber. having garnered no bipartisan support whatsoever. but don't expect that to be the end of the budget tango. and don't expect it to be the end of finger-pointing, either. as the majority leader reminds us, nothing says deal maker like an inability to compromise. >> if the president wants to let
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our unwillingness to raise taxes get in the way, then we're not going to be able to set differences aside. >> joining us now from new orleans, is democratic political strategist, james carville, the author of many books, including his latest "it's the middle class, stupid" james, it's a joy to have you on the show. thank you for joining us. i didn't have time to get into the wagner budget and the carville budget, but i wonder with the proliferation of budgets, mr. carville, do you think we're any closer to any kind of deal? >> probably not. you know, to some extent they should just forget about the sequester for the moment maybe don't do anything. the economy looks like it's picking up a little steam. and that might be just what we need. you know, in terms of the ryan budget, it took a public drubbing in the election. we, we already forgotten about november? when the republicans ran on the ryan budget. if they want to keep revisiting that, that's their choice.
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but why are we talking about this? we just find out that medicaid and medicare deliver health care cheaper than anything else? and they want to eviscerate that? it makes utterly no sense at all to me, anyway. >> howard, these seem to be sort of political manifestos, more than fiscal proposals. especially the ryan budget, over 40% of its savings are based on a repeal of obama care. which ain't going to happen any time soon. >> i agree, they are political. they aren't even opening negotiating positions, sometimes people set out markers that are designed to begin negotiations. these are political documents and they're speaking to their own parties. and the democrats have already said, look, you want to run on the ryan budget again, we've got some house races, coming up on 2014. did you that last time, we'll do it again. i think they're largely viewed as political documents, i agree with james. that the economy is poised right now to do very, very well, if only washington can figure out
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some kind of thing to get themselves off the table. to get out of the way, if these people don't get out of the way. >> harold ford junior, as an elected member of congress. >> i resemble that remark. why woe propose a budget that takes the obama care the affordable budget act and destroy it is. to not even call it a starting
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position, is a wrong thing to do senator murray, they're not going to raise new revenue right awach. republicans have a point, democrats have a point. there are three things they can do that doesn't cost any money there may be disagreement here. but it's producing jobs. approve the keystone pipeline, your own state department said it's okay. that wril be a subject for great discussion and debate in a few minutes. >> i think the notion of some tax reform, democrats have agreed to capping some deductions, the republicans like to see some changes in corporate tax rates, we can probably find a deal on that sooner than some of the other things, which might help prolong both howard and james, i think accurately spoke to it. this economy is moving in the right direction. >> james, let me ask you a question. i think to a certain degree -- look, blame can go around on both sides of the aisle. but two some degree there's a false equivalency that house democrats and house republicans are equal in their ideological position, right? i want to read a quote from ezra
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klein who has a great analysis of this. while the house progressives fantasy land no compromise effort, ryan's fantasy land no compromise effort is the official position of most every republican. house progressives don't need to learn how to compromise, but the house republicans do need to learn to compromise and there's not much evidence they're there yet. >> and if you read david brooks' column had in "the new york times," the big effort to equate that with the sort of mainstream position. the president has already said that he was open to cutting medicare. i don't know why. but he is. he's open to all of these things. and we just try to pretend like they don't happen. because after all, it's an either/or thing, maybe we need more exploration, maybe there's global warming, maybe there's not global warming. it's only a 98-2 question, but 2% of the people say it's not happening. maybe the earth is 6,000 years old, maybe it's not.
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that's exactly true. and harold is right that a lot of parts of the country are not feeling the effects of what's turned out to be an actual recovery. for god's sakes, let's don't stop the momentum we have now and then we can do some other things to sort of help it along. this has been a god-awful recession that we've had. and a lot of people are still in it. >> jake? >> the drama gets portrayed as republicans versus democrats. but the real drama here is reasonable republicans versus unreasonable republicans. and i think there are a lot more reasonable republicans in hiding than we see. particularly in the senate, obviously. but even in the house. i think the speaker john boehner himself could make a deal with president obama that would include raising taxes. he would do that. the reason he won't do that, is he's afraid of being yellowstone thrown by eric cantor and kevin mccarthy and the tea party caucus and the problem is the republicans who sort of see sense on the budget, or could see sense on the budget, are
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held back by their own fear of their own radicals. >> what's amazing to me is that, joy, we talked about ryan budget, 2.0, now this is 3.0. there is this effort under way to rebrand the republican party that has been met with varying levels of success. >> right. >> and now they're talking about this as a way of preserving the social safety net. and i always, when i hear that, it's like -- you kind of have to be kidding, right? you may have a different fiscal goals, but don't tell me this is a way of preserving the social safety net. >> it's so funny you say that because i was thinking that i'm remembering the pretty thing sent up with all the red bubbles on it from the rnc. where they said we've got to learn not to be scary. people think we're just out to protect the rich and we don't care about the poor. and all the house republicans sign on to budget that does only two things, preserves tax breaks for the rich and stick it to the poor. they are now signing on to that officially at the same time that their political organization is
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trying to find way to make them seem more sympathetic to ordinary americans. but they are all in this political document, they're going to sign onto the ryan plan, which is all about extracting all of the savings from the poor. doing nothing for the rich. >> do you think that hurts, do you think the ryan budget, it's going to pass the house on wednesday or thursday, do you think that hurts republicans in house races in 2014? >> there's no question. the democrats have already said they're going to pick several races that they're focusing on where they're going to republican against the ryan budget one more time and they're going to take every house republican vote for it in a key district, in a purple district, even in some red districts and run against it for sure. a lot of this argument is about health care. a lot of it is about medicare and medicaid and obama care. and i think when you have a governor of florida saying you know what, i'm going with the flow here. when you have republican practical-minded republican governors, as jake said there
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are reasonable republicans, they have to mostly be governors these days. they're going to go with it, they're going to make it work. and for paul ryan to be fighting that battle all over again -- after it was sort of was at the core of the 2012 election, some might argue it's what helped the president win re-election. they're going to argue that again? why? and the president will, will fight to defend medicare. he will fight to defend medicaid. because they're crucial to obama care. now james said i don't know why he's cutting medicare. there are going to be some strategic cuts around the borders. but the president is not going to give up on medicare and he's not going to give up on medicaid. and that was really what the 2012 election in terms of domestic policy was really all about. >> james, is this terrible strategy for the republican party in the long-term? >> i cannot believe that it's four and a half months after the election and they haven't sort of public strategic debate among each other and they're all sort of out there attacking each
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other. i've been around politics for a long time and a lot of people on this panel, i've been through a lot of defeats and i've seen the other side go through a lot of defeats. but i've never seen a reaction to a defeat like these republicans are right now. it's amazing and in one sense, you have somebody pointing out, we had a disastrous election, we have to change everything. and then you have the ryan budget was like we never had an election. let's just get rid of obama care and go with the same thing we lost the election on. it's amazing from at least i think so. i don't know how some of the other panelists feel. it's something really unique and different in american politics. >> harold ford, jonathan shade writes that this, he actually makes the argument that this is a good idea for the gop, given where the party is at and how resistant they are to fundamental change. i want to read an excerpt. the report determinedly avoids confronting the party's most fundamental problem -- it's attachment to an economic agenda that most voters correctly
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identify as serving the needs of a wealthy minority. if you cared a lot about preserving that policy focus, you'd urge the party to chuck overboard a couple of issues ancillary to your economic agenda, opposition to immigration and gay rights, which republican elites never really cared about to begin with and take your chances. that's exactly what the report advocates. ha do you make of that? >> i agree with him. the last time, i'm 42 years old. the person who -- >> don't brag. >> who led this -- >> don't talk about age on this show. >> it's important -- i was in college when a young fellow named james carville. linked up with a young arkansas governor and they decided to take the democratic party that i was proud to be a member of then and even prouder of now, and transform the party. and reminded the party, reminded us of our ideals of representing and wanting to empower middle class america, all people in the middle class. and as someone who grew up in a political family, it was the clinton model that inspired my politics. the republicans after this loss, i couldn't, james said it best and said it in a way that he like hearing folks in the south
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say it. he said it well -- the republicans have taken their loss and just doubled down. if not tripled down. i like paul ryan, he's a bright guy. but for the life of me how you think you can take the affordable care act, gut it, take the things that you think are good, take all the benefits for people, those without health insurance and align it with what joy said and provide essentially the goods of those who have a lot is beyond me. now having said that i don't know how much more we can raise taxes on the wealthiest in the country. if you look at the big, big states in the country, people are paying 39% in the high rate and -- >> bill maher is tie ired of paying a high tax rate. >> he's not alone. the question is how do you find the balance. i don't think there's anything wrong with asking the question. i don't fully agree with the fact that there's not an equivalency between the two. i think there's a political equivalen equivalency. one side asking for something, they know the other won't accept and the other side is doing the
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same. the question is who becomes an adult and steps forward and says -- the substantive equivalency i'm not making but politically, howard, i am. and if you are a pedestrian american watching, they'll say, this is what i was watching last fall. >> as you said, there's some agreement on closing loopholes. well apply closing the loopholes, the revenue you get from that to reducing the deficit. but paul ryan wants to do is take that money from closing loopholes and use it to give bigger tax breaks to people at the top. that's not going to fly. >> we have to take a break. james -- i think you're hanging with us, i don't know if the air ca kisses that harold was blowing to you reached up all the way in new orleans. >> i'll take compliments, particularly from a guy from memphis. >> they're coming at you, we'll take a short break, when we come back, hillary clinton joins the evolution revolution on marriage equality as the movement gathers momentum. some republicans are stuck in a state of denial. we'll discuss, just ahead.
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several dozen republicans have already submitted a signed brief supporting same-sex marriage, rob portman has done an about-face on the issue, but will speaker john boehner come around? extremely unlikely, we'll examine the gop's divide on unions, next on "now." i'm phyllis, and i have diabetic nerve pain.
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as the supreme court prepares to take up two landmark cases on gay marriage, the cause picked up another high-profile supporter on monday, hillary clinton. >> rgbt americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends. our loved ones. and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. that includes marriage. that's why i support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. i support it personally and as a matter of policy and law. >> while the announcement itself was less than shocking, it symbolized a much larger shift in public opinion. a new "washington post"/abc news poll released yesterday shows that public support for gay marriage is at an all-time high, 58% of americans support it. as do 81% of young adults. ten years ago, only 37% of
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americans supported same-sex marriage. but if the winds of change are blowing, some parts of the gop have yet to feel them. the same poll showed that only 34% of republicans support same-sex marriage, compared to 72% of democrats, and 62% of independents. and last week at cpac, the schism within the gop was thrown into sharp relief as brian brown, president of the national organization for marriage found himself voicing opposition to gay marriage in front of an empty room. memo to republicans and actually anyone on planet earth -- if you find yourself making an argument to a room full of empty chairs, it might be time to change your strategy. james, i want to go you first on this, given your storied past. a column in the "washington post" yesterday said clinton's announ announcements moves the ball significantly in confirming that no democratic presidential
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candidate will ever be viable, she's sending a strong member to the court is that americans are ready to embrace it. >> i think it's not unexpected. to say the least. and i do think it does send a signal, no one is going to run for the democratic nomination that doesn't embrace marriage equality. i would just point out that republicans do have some experience talking to empty chairs. so -- >> that is bad i totally missed the joke. >> all the republicans that signed the supreme court brief, do a little exercise and see how many of them will have to face republican primary voters. my guess is very, very few. >> jacob, josh barrow was writing in bloomberg that while republicans may grouse about d.o.m.a. and prop 8, the best thing that could happen if the supreme court strikes down both, he writes a supreme court
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decision imposing gay marriage nationwide will give republicans a useful scapegoat to impotently shake their fists at, they will say they wish they could continue their fight against gay marriage but the activists on the supreme court have made it impossible and gradually, everyone who cares about stopping gay marriage will grow old and die. >> i think he probably is right about that, good analysis. better for them if the issue is somehow taken off the table. the thing they most hate is when the supreme court preempts legislation at the state and federal level. i mean it's interesting a dynamic now, the issue is moving faster than anybody could have ever anticipated. and republicans in this case thought it was going to be a political advantage for them has quickly turned into a liability. the question of at what point a politician gets patted on the head for being courageous and at what time they deserve a little slap for being late to the game -- i mean i didn't even know that hillary clinton wasn't already for gay marriage. i'm shocked, she's been lying for years about this, right? i mean -- >> in so far as you think she's
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been for gay marriage? >> obviously true. same with barack obama and same with bill clinton. they've not been against gay marriage until the day before yesterday, they've been for it and afraid to speak about it. on the other hand, better late than never. i think with rob portman and a few republicans who have come out of it, come out on the issue now, it reflects more of an actual change in conscience. probably some lag of the actual change in view. but you know, their views are changing on the subject. >> joy, i thought it was actually a pretty remarkable that when john boehner was asked about this very question, and i think privately we sometimes publicly think boehner is more of a moderate than he actually acts, than his legislative record would show. i want to play the sound of him being asked about it this sunday. let's take a listen. >> can you imagine yourself in a situation where you reversed your decision as portman has, on gay marriage if a child of yours or someone you live told you they were gay? >> i believe that marriage is
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the union of one man and one woman. it's what i grew with, it's what i believe. it's what my church teaches me. and i can't imagine that position would ever change. >> so, joy, i mean we know boehner has sort of done tangos on other issues, that to me seems like a pretty firm closing of the door in terms of marriage equality, in support foy gay marriage. >> definitely, i think the question would have been refrained. can you imagine keeping your speakership if you got challenged from the right by kevin mccarthy or eric cantor? >> i think boehner thinks about this as a quote-unquote moral issue. it may be convenient for the base, but i think this goes to his -- >> i think this is the challenge and the republican party has a fundamental challenge. the elites within the party believe that they have to move left on social issues in order to comport with younger voters. in order to be seem less scary and seem less harsh. that they need to speak more
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softly on moral sort of social issues and that on economic issues they need to sound softer, but hold hard to their position. the problem is, for the base that feels deeply about these things, from a religious point of view, they don't have a political imperative, they're not going to change their deeply held religious beliefs on either marriage or abortion or contraception, just to help their political party win elections. >> this is the, the story of how the modern republican party was built. coming back on itself now. i've been around like james has, long enough to see a republican party built on the evangelical south. harold knows all about it. and they cannot uncouple easily that base from who they are. however, that republican report that we were talking about, there's one honest paragraph in there that says this issue, meaning marriage equality, is a gateway issue for young people. and we, meaning republicans, are not going to be able to speak to young voters, that is voters
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under 30, about any topic, unless we get past this. we have to get past it. but how do they get past that without alienating the base that built the modern southern-based republican party? that's the conflict that they've got. >> in fairness to the speaker, seven years ago i ran for the senate in tennessee, the on the state ballot was an initiative to declare same-sex marriage unconstitutional. i don't think you're going to see a number of those initiatives around the country. i think you're going to see more initiatives trying to undo it. >> that was a strategy that republicans had. in state after state, when races involving you and others, they placed those things on the ballot. only a few years ago, they're not going to be doing that any more. >>, so, too you look at whether or not they're going to bring up, when i was in the house, on whether or not you wanted to declare same-sex marriage unconstitutional. finally, to your point, joy, about religion and you know, religious traditions, it will be interesting to see how the catholic church handles this in
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the coming years. i heard a little more wiggle room than perhaps you heard. i heard him saying this is not -- eight years ago, you would have heard republicans making demeaning, dismissive, derisive -- >> the tone of it was i'm trapped here, i'm an old guy, who believes what i believe. i'm kind of trapped here. >> he might resemble your remark, jacob, more than you think. he might be there with his conscience more than you think. >> were you for gay marriage when you ran for senate? >> i've had like many americans have had an evolution on this over the past six years, living here in new york, my wife has help immediate understand this i differently. it didn't really bother me who got married. but where i came from, my pastor told me and my church told me there was one way. and the older i got and the smarter i got and the more mature i got and i married a smart woman. >> uh-huh. >> all right, james i want to ask you since we're talking about hillary here, i'm going to have to ask the obvious question which is -- coming out in support of gay marriage a good
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position to be in, should you want to run for president, perhaps in 2016? >> the only position that a democrat can have from now until probably forever. and i think that jake made a very good point. she was never really against it. remember, her and obama were both against gay marriage in 2008. i don't think either one of them really -- really are. i really doubt if boehner is really against it, anyway. i can't get into his conscience or his mind or what he's really thinking. he doesn't look like the kind of guy that would get very gassed up about the issue. but the thing is just decided in the democratic party. at least in among national democrats, probably even among democrats here in the south, however many we got left. it's just a decided issue now. it's done. and anybody who runs for president, as a democrat is going to have this position. and the republicans are now officially uncomfortable with the whole thing. they don't want to talk about it. and that's just the way it is. it's been i think everybody on the panel agrees this thing has moved faster than anybody would
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have anticipated. but moving, it is. >> moving, it is indeed. james carville, a joy, a pleasure and a delight to have you on the show. thanks for joining us. james' book is "it's the middle class, stupid" is out now. more than 30,000 u.s. troops have returned home from iraq with serious combat wounds, but much of the long-term damage is not visible. we'll discuss the toll on veterans when the "huffington post's" dave woods joins us next. max and penny kept our bookstore exciting and would always come to my rescue. but as time passed, i started to notice max just wasn't himself. and i knew he'd feel better if he lost a little weight. so i switched to purina cat chow healthy weight formula. i just fed the recommended amount... and they both loved the taste. after a few months max's "special powers" returned... and i got my hero back.
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we live in a grateful nation. people respect and value your service. but now is the time where we've got to step up on your behalf. we know that right now as this transitioning is happening for so many veterans, this is the time when they're feeling whether or not this country is truly there for them. >> that was the first lady speaking in the last hour at an event honoring veterans at the white house. the tenth anniversary of the iraq invasion was met with a rash of car bombings in baghdad this morning. leaving 56 dead and more than 200 injured. the war remains an open wound in both iraq and america. american veterans home from war remain engaged in battle, struggling to rebuild normal lives while suffering mental and physical disabilities, fighting to find jobs and waiting weeks and months to receive benefit payments, the numbers are
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staggering and they're underdiscussed. more than 32,000 soldiers returned from iraq with serious combat injuries, including multiple amputations. other wounds are not so visible. a report found one in three post 9/11 veterans have post traumatic stress disorder. ptsd increases the chance of suicide, occurring at alarming rates among veterans. last week the veterans department reported that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. a rate of nearly once an hour. 325 active and reserve troops are believed to have taken their own lives in 2012, the highest number ever recorded. but as former soldiers contend with mental and physical injuries, they face challenges elsewhere. one in ten iraq and afghanistan veterans are jobless, with more than 200,000 unemployed last month alone. even accessing the most basic support, the benefits they've earned is strenuous, 600,000 retired soldiers are waiting for disability compensation benfits with an average wait time of 273
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days and growing. this is a photo of the application backlog if one veteran's office in north carolina. 97% of claims are still filed on paper. a veterans' department report on this office last summer noted the excessive number of claims folders appeared to have the potential to compromise the integrity of the building. young men and women who risked their lives on the battlefield have returned home to find a nation, that while grateful, is failing them. joining us from washington is pulitzer prize winning senior military correspondent with the "the huffington post," david wood, david, thank you as always for joining us. >> hey, alex. >> we've talked about veterans and wars on this show. but today is a great day to be talking about this in so far as it is, it remains, these remain topics that are far too underdiscussed. i want to talk about the notion that ending the wars is a priority. it's something that sort of most americans seem to believe is job number one, vis-a-vis our
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engagement in the middle east. is dealing with veterans as much of a priority in this country? the statistics would seem to say no. >> well it's a big and complicated and important question. we ran at "the huffington post," a poll last week until we asked people, do you know anybody who served in iraq? do you know anybody who was wounded there? or do you know anybody who was killed? and i was really shocked. even knowing there's a divide between those who serve in the military and those who don't. but the number of people who didn't know anybody who had been killed and wounded was in the high 80s, 80%. and the number of people who knew somebody was also about, who didn't know anybody was also about three-quarters. so you know, it's hardly surprising that veterans feel kind of left out when they come back and you know, i remember talking to an army captain who said, i was home on leave not so long ago and when we went out to dinner, my wife said, honey,
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don't talk about the war when we go to dinner and he said -- i don't have anything else to talk about. so that's part of the problem here. >> jake, when you talk about the national discussion, we're paying a lot of attention to this, because this is the 10th anniversary of the iraq war. but at the end of the day, in terms of a national conversation, the people that serve are smaller and smaller number of the american population. there is no war tax. so americans aren't feeling pain in their pocket. there's not a sense of shared sacrifice as far as going to battle. >> if we had a draft, we wouldn't have gone to war in iraq and if we had been in a war in iraq, it would have ended much sooner. that's simply the case. we've chosen to let people who need the economic opportunity of going into the military do the fighting for the country. and i don't think there's a good solution to that but i think it is a tragic social dynamic and over time it seems to be getting worse. the other thing picking up on what wood is talking about here, there's a a phenomena that hasn't been fully understood,
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that people who would have died in any other war, survived their injuries in the iraq war. the survival rates for injuries went from around 20% in the second world war, and even in vietnam, it was maybe only in the 40s. now it's i might not have the numbers right, but it's much, much higher. approaching 80%. so people who would have died from head injuries, had multiple amputations are around and their care is unbelievably complicated, it's unbelievably expensive. and there's the question of whether the survivors can get to the point where they're glad they survived. >> dave, you've been great in terms of documenting those injuries. going to walter reed. 32,221 veterans came home with serious combat wounds. i want to quote some of your writing, staff sergeant brian ganzer of the 101st airborne was blown up in iraq and his wife sheryl, then 24 rushed to meet him at the old walter reed army hospital she was introduced to
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the world of bed pans, needles, surgeries pain and depression, brian's wounds in iraq had forever changed their future. the happy life they had known was over. >> one thing we tend to forget is that it's not just the 1.1 million american who is served in iraq. and i might say that most of them served more than once. so total, 2.3 million individual deployments to the war in iraq. so it's not just those folks, it's their families. and for the wounded, the caregivers who didn't enlist for this, don't get a medal from the president. but they are now engaged in a lifetime of taking care of their wounded spouse. so it's a huge burden. the other thing i want to say is that for those who didn't get wounded, that's the majority, thank goodness -- think about the lost time with their families, that's gone forever. people who deployed two years
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for example are missing two years of their family. two years of their children growing up. two years with their spouse. and that time is lost forever. and i don't know how we measure that. it's fair to say that we have an economic draft in this country. but it's also fair to say that people serve willingly, they consider themselves professionals and they pay a petty high price. >> harold, we were talking about the segment began about the sort of failure here. and that it's, it's not republicans or democrats. it's really the country on a whole in terms of providing an adequate safety net. just on the claims alone. you look at that there are paper claims that threaten the integrity of a building because there are just so many of them. why is that? given the sort of banner waving around the issue of patriotism and you know, our service men and women, when it comes down to brass tacks, we are failing them as a country. >> it's an abomination on the country. it's a scourge on the country,
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democrat and republican alike. for the life of me i can't figure out how we can't ask the smartest app developers, the smartest tech thinkers in the country to help us develop a system to be able to process this more efficiently. that picture there -- hurts me as much as anything else. those are families, those are lives, those are communities that are being affected. the fact that we as a nation, as a government can't devise a better plan -- is just inexcusable. >> dave before we let you go, there are calm, there are efforts under way, they may not be big enough or comprehensive enough. butt president has signed, there's the vow to hire heroes act. there's the veteran skills job act. the first lady and dr. biden, the vice president's wife, have announced hiring programs for military spouses and veterans. what needs to be done on a policy level? what's lacking in your view? >> i don't think it's policy
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that's the problem. our official policy is we take care of veterans, the money is coming in, part of the problem is that the department of veterans affairs was hugely unprepared for this war. as was the u.s. military so they've been scrambling to catch up. congress has added in new things that they've got to adjudicate and pay for. which has clogged up the system. one thing you didn't mention, i came across a veteran who has been waiting four years for the va to process his claim. i mean it's, it's unacceptable. secretary shinsecki at the va has implemented a number of reforms, i think they're catching up. they're going to automate all that stuff, it's already in the works. i hope this problem is going to be resolved. but look, i think the most important thing that we can do as individuals is welcome veterans home to our communities. >> well that expediting process cannot happen fast enough. >> i say we put nick saban, the coach of alabama's football team
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in charge of this. he figures how to win football games, he could figure this out. >> thanks as always to david woods, senior military correspondent with "the huffington post." your insight is invaluable as always. after the break, valiant attempt at fighting a health epidem epidemic, or nanny state gone wild. a skrcrackdown on under-age smoking. (dog) larry,larry,larrryyy. why take exercise so seriously,when it can be fun? push-ups or sprints? what's wrong with fetch? or chase? let's do this larry! ooh, i got it, i got it! (narrator) the calorie-smart nutrition in beneful healthy weight... includes grains and real chicken, because a healthy dog is a playful dog. beneful healthy weight. find us on facebook
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nanny bloomberg announced he wants to pass a law forcing retailers to keep all cigarettes out of public view, the out of sight, out of mind strategy is
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an attempt to curb underage smoking. bloomberg's prior efforts to curb smoking has been effective. since he has been in office, smoking among adults has dropped by almost a third falling from 21.5% in 2002, to 14.8% in 2011. >> howard, chimney that you are, where do you fall on this? is this overreach? or is this a great idea? >> can you make fun of bloomberg, but you know what, he's right. cigarettes are a scourge on the health of the country. paying for health care is a collective responsibility. whether republicans want to admit it or not. i think they should tax the heck out of them even more than they are and some people think bloomberg didn't go far enough. all he's doing is saying keep them out of sight. it doesn't mean you can't get them. >> which has been in terms of bad foods, if you don't see them you are less likely to buy them. i would think like if you're an underage smoker and the thrill of getting something you're not supposed to have. now that it's secret -- >> it's like porn.
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>> or like alcohol. i think a lot of people argue that the united states' prudy policies towards sex, drugs and alcohol sort of fuels young people to want them more. big sodas and cigarettes really are bad. and momma just wants what's best for you. so give him a break. >> the key thing to remember about bloomberg is he's not a nonsmoker, he's an ex-smoker. the ex-smokers want to persecute the smoker. that said, this has worked. it's been a tremendous benefit to public health and the movement has really spread from here all over the world. it's everything added up, everything you do to add hassle and a little bit of persecution and a lot of costs to smokers reduces smoking. >> you're talking about false equivalencies here. as between a soda, a sugary soda and a pack of cigarettes it's a big difference, the cigarettes are a more direct route to mayhem in your body and to cost to the country.
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>> and government ultimately pays for a lot of the costs. >> maybe he gets the cigarette companies to negotiate on a lot of other things, i plaud him for what he's doing. but i don't smoke, i don't smoke not because they're hidden. >> because michael bloomberg told you not to? >> i'm now saying i was a smoker, but there's a part of me that says every time cigarettes get harder to get, because i live in new york city, some part of me is like -- i should start. i'm going to leave it there. that's the end of the show, thank you to jacob, joy, harold and howard. i'll see you back here tomorrow when i'm joined by michael steele, kurt anderson, victoria defrancesco soto. former white house economist and cbo director eken and jay street founder jeremy bename. you can follow me online. next up, luke russert and his boat shoes are sitting in for
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